Common Council committee meetings are typically scheduled to last for 45 minutes. Last night's Legal Committee meeting lasted twice that long. The lion's share of the time--one hour--was devoted to the proposed "sanctuary city" resolution.
Interestingly, the term sanctuary city appears nowhere in the document. Instead, the title of the resolution defines its purpose as "Affirming the City of Hudson as a Welcoming and Inclusive City." Alderman Michael O'Hara (First Ward), who chairs the Legal Committee, summarized the basic message of the resolution in this way: "Our police department has a job to do, and they are not agents of the federal government."
Below is the full text of the resolution. Click on the images to enlarge to a more legible size.
Council president Claudia DeStefano, who sits on the Legal Committee expressed her desire that the Police Committee review the resolution, "because it is so HPD oriented." O'Hara explained that, because there is no single definition of "sanctuary city," he wanted the resolution "to be drafted in some detail before giving it to the police."
Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward), who also sits on the Legal Committee, offered the opinion, "We are not required to give it to the police," to which Andy Howard, legal counsel to the Council, responded, "The police department may have suggestions." Garriga said the resolution "sums up what is in the mayor's executive order." Howard corrected her, saying that the resolution was "more general." O'Hara added, "The resolution is a broader description of policy."
Generally speaking, the resolution states that officers of the Hudson Police Department will continue their current practice of not asking about the immigration or citizenship status; will not stop, question, or investigate people solely on actual or suspected immigration status issues; will not inquire into the immigration status of any crime victim, witness, or person reporting a crime; and will not assist immigration enforcement except in certain clearly defined instances involving threats to public safety or the execution of criminal warrants, or when local law enforcement cooperation is required by state or federal statute.
After entertaining many questions and comments from the audience that filled the Council Chamber, many of which dealt with issues that were beyond the scope of the resolution and authority of the Common Council, the committee members--O'Hara, Garriga, DeStefano, and Priscilla Moore (Fifth Ward)--voted unanimously to move the resolution forward, which in this case meant passing it along to the Police Committee. That committee meets on Monday, February 27, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
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